Philippine Takes 11 Chinese Fishermen as Their Hostage: Intentionally Dragging
Foot in Their Judicial Procedures for More Than One Year
The 11 unfortunate Chinese fishermen did nothing illegal, not at least in the jurisdiction of the Philippines. The only thing they did wrongly was getting grounded in Tubbataha Marine Park, exactly where another US Naval war ship got grounded three months earlier for the same reason � no sufficient GPS data was offered by the Philippine authorities to the international community. They both believed they were sailing by the right routing in the wide Sulu Sea.
However, the treatment received by the two ships has been astonishingly different. The steel made US naval war ship was said having caused little damage, and crews were released almost immediately. The small Chinese fishing vessel was charged as having caused huge damage to the coral reefs.
Strangely, the said damaged area is almost 12 times larger than the fishing ship’s bottom. And, according to the crews, they were immediately arrested and brought away from their own ship when they got grounded in the marine park. Then how that huge damage was made?
The Chinese fishermen were arranged to do some fishing in the South China Sea. They eventually were instructed to sail to a point in the Sulu Sea to pick up some tightly wrapped “cargo.” Later on, after their being arrested, they were told those cargos were frozen pangolins. Obviously these were to be smuggled to China, where some people believe the animal meat is good for health � not to the Philippines.
By now that they have been detained at Port Princess, Palawan, for more than a year. And the court is intentionally dragging its foot, so to push them to plead guilty. The crew members were threatened that if they do not plead guilty they will face an extremely long time in the jail, perhaps 18-20 years.
Because of the island disputes between the Philippines and China in the region, these fishermen are still detained. They are still paying money to ensure they are guarded by the Philippine armed guards, in a small house with high walls in Palawan.
They are actually kidnapped by the Philippine government.
Kuenchen FU（XMU-SCSI Professor）